Monroe earns 2nd Weekly MEAC honor

white helmetAlex Monroe has been named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the week for the 2nd consecutive week the conference announced on Monday evening. Monroe (LT, 6-5, 305, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.) paved the way for a season-high 464 yards of total offense in a 66-7 win over Virginia Union.  He blocked for three different quarterbacks and aided B-CU to amass the most points since 2010 (vs. N.C. A&T 67 points; Oct. 28).  He also added two pancake blocks while receiving a grade of 93-percent on his assignments. 

Howard’s Greg McGhee was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) Offensive Player of the Week, the conference announced on Monday. D’Vonte Grant, of North Carolina A&T, was named Defensive Player of the Week.

Other Top Performers

Nick Addison (B-CU) returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown and collected four tackles, two solo, against Virginia Union.

Jontavious Carter (B-CU) finished the game with two catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns in the Wildcats’ victory over Virginia Union.

Cary White (B-CU) rushed for 62 yards on eight attempts with one touchdown versus Virginia Union.

BCU signs 24 high school and junior college players

SONY DSCBethune-Cookman football coach Brian Jenkins announced the signing of 24 student-athletes on National Signing Day.

Jenkins stated the goal of this recruiting class was to “build a new team” and “create depth and competition at every position”.

The 2013 class includes: 9 offensive and defensive linemen; 6 wide receivers; 4 running backs, 2 quarterbacks, 1 athlete, and 1 linebacker.

Defensive Lineman Jamal Cooper (Coahoma Community College), Punter/Place Kicker, Johnathan Cagle (Pensacola Pine Forest HS), and running backs Nate Pryor (Sebastian River HS) and Jamaruz Thompkins (Tampa Bay Tech HS) were among those whom Coach Jenkins mentioned as having the potential to make immediate impacts. 

Quarterback Larry Brihm (Delray Beach Village Academy) and wide receiver Frank Brown (Palm Beach Gardens) were the top performers at their positions in talent rich Palm Beach County in 2012.  In addition to Brihm and Brown, BCU also landed speedy and athletic Werley Placide (linebacker) from Boca Raton Olympic HS. The Palm Beach Post referenced BCU’s nabbing of the trio as a bit of a coup d’état for Brian Jenkins and his staff.

The Wildcats landed two local high school standouts in former Mainland High School quarterback Shelton Willis and reigning 8A State Champions Apopka High’s Dazzie Morris.

Four players from Jacksonville Raines signed with BCU all of whom are listed as wide receivers.

This is a deep class of signees who possess a great mix of size, speed, and athleticism.  Several of the signees selected the Daytona Beach institution over larger FBS programs which is a true testament to the growth of the BCU football program. 

2013 Bethune-Cookman Football Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School

Darian Baker WR 5-10 174 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Larry Brihm QB 6-0 210 Delray Beach, Fla./Village Academy

Frank Brown WR 5-11 176 Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS

Johnathan Cagle P/K 6-3 175 Pensacola, Fla./Pine Forest HS

Jamal Cooper DL 6-4 280 Memphis, Tenn./Kirby HS/Coahoma CC

Jawill Davis WR 6-0 170 Miami, Fla./American HS

Terique Debois OL 6-3 310 Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem HS/Lackawanna CC

Jamal Dozier WR 6-1 160 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Andrew Edouard OL 6-0 290 Philadelphia, Pa./Overbrook HS/Lackawanna CC

Atreyu Farrior ATH 6-1 180 Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen HS

Anthony Green DT 6-1 245 Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson HS

Uriah Horne OG 6-3 260 McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing HS

William Koen III OL 6-4 250 Lawrenceville, Ga./Mountain View HS

Dazzie Morris OG 6-2 260 Apopka, Fla./Apopka HS

Dre’Sean Nelson RB 5-8 160 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard HS

Phillip Norman OG 6-4 280 Sebastian, Fla./Sebastian River HS

Larry Overstreet RB 6-0 200 Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh HS/Fresno City College

Nathaniel Pryor RB 5-9 180 Sebastian, Fla./Sebastian River HS

Dishawn Ray DT 6-4 305 Jesup, Ga./Wayne County HS

Bruce Seymore WR 6-2 171 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Jamaruz Thompkins RB 5-10 185 Tampa, Fla./Tampa Bay Tech

Devonte Washington WR 6-2 178 Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS

Shelton Willis QB 6-0 165 Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland HS

What we learned after the 1st two games

Stay in the Moment is more than just coach talk.  If you have followed Bethune-Cookman football with any degree of regularity over the past three seasons then surely you have heard Coach Brian Jenkins repeat the phrase ‘stay in the moment’.   This may appear on the surface to be just more sports jargon, but the resiliency of the 2012 Fighting Wildcats suggests they fully believe in the mantra.

The Wildcats registered impressive victories in Week 1 and Week 2 of the season after trailing by 21 and 14 points respectively.  But it is not just overcoming the slow starts that is adding credence to the ‘stay in the moment’ philosophy.  BCU has endured a rash of untimely penalties while in scoring position as well as turnovers setting up great field position for their opponents.  Yet the Wildcats have been able to keep their focus, not panic and persevere; or more plainly stated, ‘STAY IN THE MOMENT’.

The kickoff and punt return units still needs some tweaking. In this past Saturday’s contest against South Carolina State, the Cats used a fumble recovery touchdown on special teams to turn the momentum of game.  Unfortunately for Bethune-Cookman, they are still having trouble producing any kind of spark with other aspects of their special teams units, kickoff returns and punt returns being chief among them.  The Wildcats are averaging just 4.8 yards per punt return (19 yards total through 2 games) and rank last in the conference in kickoff return average at just 12.4 yards per return.  BCU has not registered a kickoff or punt return TD since the 2010 season.

The new defensive regulars are filling in nicely.  We expected solid production from DJ Howard, Harold Love, Jarkevis Fields and other returning defensive starters/regulars.  But one of the off-season question marks was how productive the host of new defensive regulars would be; and how long would it take them to make a positive impact.  As a unit, the defense has held opponents to just 7 total points after the 1st quarter.  First year starting safety Nick Addison is tied for the team lead in tackles (14) and UCF transfer LeBrandon Richardson leads the team in sacks (4).   Linebackers Nesly Marcellon and Dawud Lane and defensive end Markeil Floyd have also been very productive through the first two contests.

This team has an opportunity to be exceptionally good.  We are not yet a quarter of the way through the season and BCU has not come close to playing a complete game on either side of the ball thus far.  Even still the Beach Cats scored convincing victories over two very good football teams in Alabama State and South Carolina State respectively.  Offensively the rushing attack is as good as it has been in the Brian Jenkins era;  both Jackie Wilson and Brock Waters seem capable at the quarterback position; the offensive line is experienced and huge; and Eddie Poole, KJ Stroud, and David Blackwell make up as good of a trio of wide-receivers as you’ll find in the conference.  Defensively the Wildcats have been phenomenal after the first quarter of games allowing just 7 total points in the 2nd quarter and 0 points after halftime.  If the Cats can find a way to get off to better starts and eliminate some of the penalties, this team can not only win a MEAC title but also a few playoff games.  But I suppose that I should not look that far ahead and just “Stay in the Moment”.

Next up for Bethune-Cookman is a Saturday match-up against perennial power the University of Miami .  Kickoff is scheduled for noon.

BCU vs SCSU Preview

BCU Mascot

BCU Mascot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Bethune-Cookman squares off against South Carolina State tomorrow night at 6:00, it could very well be a showdown of the two best teams in all of HBCU football.  Both teams enter the contest coming off of impressive victories.  The Bulldogs defeated Georgia State of the formidable CAA conference convincingly on the road.  The Dogs racked up 488 yards of offense on their way to a 33-6 victory over GSU.  Quarterback Richard Cue led SCSU with 300 yards passing and three touchdowns. Wide Receivers Caleb Davis and Lennel Elmore both eclipsed the 100 yard receiving mark in the contest.

The Wildcats started slowly in their Week 1 matchup and fell behind 21-0 against Alabama State.  But the Beach Cats found their form in the 2nd quarter and steamrolled to a 38-28 win in last week’s MEAC/SWAC Challenge.  Senior quarterback Brock Waters replaced Jackie Wilson midway through the second quarter and was responsible for three BCU touchdowns (2 passing and 1 rushing) in the contest.  Waters (100 yds) joined running backs Isidore Jackson (123 yds) and Rodney Scott (103 yds) as 100 yard rushers in last week’s contest.  BCU tallied 551 total yards of offense on the afternoon and will hope to carry that momentum into Oliver C Dawson Stadium where they have experienced a good deal of success recently.  In fact, the Wildcats have won 4 of their last 5 meetings on the Bulldog’s home field; the last of which was 14-0 shutout in 2010. 

The Wildcats and Bulldogs are eerily similar in terms of overall talent, team speed, and size but the similarities do not just stop there.

  • SCSU head coach Buddy Pough has never finished worse than 2nd in the MEAC’s final standings; but neither has BCU coach Brian Jenkins.
  • Bethune returns 9 starters on offense from 2011; and so do the Bulldogs. 
  • SCSU loss 7 starters from last season’s defense; BCU loss 6 starters from their 2011 defense.
  •  Both teams have dual threat quarterbacks (SCSU-Richard Cue; BCU-Brock Waters/Jackie Wilson) and a host of talented wide receivers.  The teams also have very experienced offensive lines and a plethora of new but talented starters on defense.
  • The teams are 8-7 in their last 15 head-to-head matchups with BCU holding the 1 game advantage during that span.
  • Bethune has won 4 of the last 5 games played in Orangeburg, while South Carolina State has won 3 straight in Daytona Beach.

 Advantages:

  • South Carolina State appears to have an advantage in special teams with dangerous return men, Lennel Elmore and Darius Drummond fielding punts and kickoffs.
  • Bethune seems to have a clear advantage in the rushing attack in running backs Isidore Jackson and Rodney Scott.  And if last week’s performance is any indication, Brock Waters is as valuable in the running game as any other player on BCU’s roster.

 3 keys to victory for BCU

1. Know who to block—BCU has a very experienced offensive line.  That experience will be put to the test against SCSU’s heavy blitzing, 3-4 defensive scheme.  BCU enjoyed a great deal of success running the ball right at the Bulldog defense last year. The Wildcats should have success running the ball again this year.  In the passing game, BCU’s offensive line and quarterback(s) must account for all rushers.  If that happens, BCU’s offense could have a huge night.

2. Connect in the passing game when called upon—The Wildcats boasted one of the best rushing attacks in the country in 2011.  They carried that trend into Week 1 where they racked up 367 yards on the ground.  The Cats will need to connect on enough throws in the passing game to keep the Bulldog defense from committing too many players to stop the run.  If/when SCSU commit those extra bodies against the run, the Wildcats will need to take advantage of the single coverage and connect on plays down the field in the passing game.

3. Don’t give up too much on special teams—Coach Jenkins cited Darius Drummond’s two punt returns that ended inside the 20 yard line as the key factors in his team’s 26-18 defeat to SCSU last season.  BCU cannot afford to have history repeat itself again this season if they hope to win.

Our prediction:

BCU wins impressively 34-17.

The game can be viewed live (6:00 P.M.) on WatchESPN or on ESPNU on tape delay beginning at 10:30 P.M.

Bethune Cookman 2012 Signing Class

Third year head coach Brian Jenkins could hardly hold back his radiant and infectious smile when announcing what could be the best signing class of his brief tenure at Bethune Cookman.  The nearly 100 Wildcat supporters who attended the Signing Day Bash clapped and cheered as coach Jenkins highligted 15 new additions to the Fighting Wildcat football team.  8 of the 15 signees revealed on Wednesday night are already enrolled in classes and are slated to participate in Spring practice.

Stacking the Chips and Building for the Future

Although many pundits believe that it takes a minimum of three years to accurately rate a recruiting class, coach Jenkins has already labled this class a success.  Coach Jenkins stated:

“We were able to address our areas of need, build depth, sign all by 2 or 3 of the players that we targeted, as well as find some immediate (impact) players.  I can already call this class a success.  There is no need to wait for 2 or 3 years.”  He went on to state: “And this is only the first half of our signing class.  We got guys with more girth and guys who are longer on the offensive line.  We got taller in the secondary.  We got more explosive at wide receiver.”

“We’re stacking the chips and building for the future.  And there is still more to come.  I’ve got a few surprises up my sleeve that will be revealed at a later time.”

The 15 signees include 2 defensive linemen; 4 defensive backs, 1 linebacker, 6 offensive linemen, and 2 wide receivers.  Expect 4 or 5 additional signees before the kickoff of Fall practice.

The 2012 BCU Football Signing Class (as of February1, 2012) is as follows:

*=Mid-Year Transfer Already Attending Bethune Cookman

Defensive Line 

*Brandon Bryant (Jr.) – Defensive Line – 6’4” – 290 – Atlanta, Ga. – Central Florida

LeBranden Richardson (So.) – Defensive End – 6’2” – 237 – Miami, Fla. – Central Florida

Defensive Back

*Tyrone Bouie (r-So.) – Defensive Back – 6’0” – 180 – Sanford, Fla. – University of Minnesota

*Derek Carter (r-Jr.) – Defensive Back – 6’0” – 200 – Sunrise, Fla. – Central Michigan

Tevin Gordon (Fr.) – Safety – 6’3” – 175 – DeLand, Fla. – DeLand High School

Terry Harden, Jr. (Fr.) – Defensive Back – 6’1” – 185 – Hollywood, Fla. – Hollywood Hills High School

Offensive Line

 Trevin Huff (Fr.) – Offensive Line – 6’4” – 270 – Tallahassee, Fla. – Tallahassee Lincoln High School 

*Mike Jones (Fr.) – Offensive Line – 6’7” – 300 – Chatham, Va. – Hargrave Military

Dariusz Bladek (Fr.) – Offensive Line – 6’4” – 300 – Kissimmee, Fla. – Poinciana High School

*Rashard Brown (Jr.) – Offensive Line – 6’1” – 305 – Kissimmee, Fla. – Georgia Military College

Jamel Turner (Jr.) – Tight End – 6’4” – 230 – Chicago, Ill. – Reedly College

Tim Nicholas (Fr.) – Offensive Line – 6’4 – 275 – Hollywood, Fla. – Chaminade-Madonna Prep

Wide Receiver

Ray Martin (Fr.) – Wide Receiver – 5’10” – 180 – Sanford, Fla. – Seminole High School

*Brodrick Waters (Sr.) – Wide Receiver – 5’11” – 195 – Sarasota, Fla. – Louisiana Tech

Linebackers

Isaiah Riddle (Fr.) – Linebacker – 6’1” – 235 – Newnan, Ga. – Atlanta Sports Academy